Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write for the ACTION and/or ADVENTURE Genre (11/13/14)
- TITLE: Many Waters
By Milly Born
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I eyed the pickup trapped in the middle of the stream, its windows open. "How many in there?" I raised my voice over the torrent.
"One. A kid, they said." My colleague Pete pointed to some bystanders huddling together, their hoods pulled over their heads.
The chief came running. "Okay, let's move. Pete, Andy, prepare the rope! Helen you go in."
Andy frowned. "You sure, Helen?"
“Yep.” As I put on my water booties, I sighed. Even after a year, some men on the water rescue team still doubted my capabilities.
Pete squeezed my shoulder. “I’ll be praying.”
I raised my brows. Religion didn’t seem to fit Pete’s sturdy appearance.
While I slipped on the life jacket, he ran downstream holding one end of the rope; Andy went upstream with the other end. I attached the middle of the rope to my jacket and raced to the water’s edge.
As I lowered myself into the river, the water seeping through my wetsuit was cold, but I didn't cringe. Gritting my teeth, I focused on not being pushed over by the rushing water. Suddenly, I was pulled to a stop—not enough slack. "Come on!" The abrupt release of the rope made me nearly lose my balance and a muddy wave crashed in my face. Gasping, I pursued my way to the pickup. When my feet lost touch with the bottom, I covered the last stretch to the truck with two powerful strokes.
Staring through the water-coated windshield was a boy, his glasses askew. Water was up above his waist.
“Hello! I’m Helen—I'll help you. What’s your name?”
He didn’t react. Leaning through the window, I grabbed him under his arms and pulled. He was stuck. I groped under water and unbolted the buckle of the lap belt. Suddenly, he started squirming. “Mommy! Dad!”
“It’s okay, honey. Put on this vest—right, like that—and this.” I fastened the chinstrap of his helmet. “Now grab my neck.”
His teeth chattered. After what seemed an eternity, he turned his head and stretched out his arms.
Just then the pickup moved—the wrong way. The current pushed it perpendicular to the shore, leaving me at the downstream side. Water pouring through the windows, almost shoved me out of the truck. As swirling waves sloshed against his face, panic filled the boy’s eyes, and he seized my arm.
Oh my God, let the car stop.
“Helen, get out of there!” The men were about to tow me in but miraculously, the pickup stopped moving. I put my free hand on top of my head to signal that I was okay.
“Come on, sweetie.” Groaning, I pulled the small body through the window and clicked his vest onto mine. He wrapped his trembling arms around me. I was about to push us free from the car, when the boy screamed, “Wait! Zoe!”
“My dog—she's in the back!”
With the boy pressed against my chest, I gripped the back’s side panel. Inside a cage, I saw the Border Collie—her head just above water.
“Helen!” I heard urgency in Pete’s voice.
Ignoring him, I asked the boy, "Can you open that cage?”
"I'll put you in the back and hold you by your vest. You grab Zoe, and come right back to me. Okay?"
He nodded, compressing his now bluish lips.
Minutes later, Andy and Pete pulled us to the shore. I heard the car scraping over a rock as it succumbed to the violent water.
Andy was livid. "You risked your life and the kid's for a dog? Only a woman—"
"Hey, I couldn’t leave the dog behind. For all I know, the boy’s parents might have drowned, and the dog’s all he’s got."
Andy stomped off, but Pete followed my gaze to the stretcher. While the paramedics wrapped him in a thermal blanket, the boy was still clutching Zoe. Rain poured down Pete’s strong jaws as a look of wonder spread over his face. “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.”
“Sorry, what are you saying?”
He turned to me and smiled. “Great job, Helen.”
Bible Reference: Song of Solomon 8:7 ESV
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